Saturday, February 17, 2007

a local church bobbing in a heavy sea

I had a fascinating phone conversation with Bernard Walker, from the School of Organisational Leadership and Development at the University of Canterbury. He had been reading my Out of bounds church? book and was making some fascinating connections with current issues facing industrial relations and labour unions. He was after a book reading list for a post-graduate research project, looking for parallels between the literature regarding church involvement and that regarding union membership. It was a most stimulating conversation that I have continued to ponder.

It is easy to get locked into the local church and to then judge mission effectiveness by the rise and fall of a local community. Yet the local church bobs on a cultural sea. Issues, for example, about membership and belonging and commitment and busy life and time-styles are not just local church issues, but are part of larger cultural currents. We ignore these currents at our own peril.

For all of the alarm in Christian literature about the decline of the church, their is as much, if not more alarm, in other voluntary sectors. (Rugby clubs, unions, political party membership lists being just three examples). In fact, some of the emerging church thinking might actually be of help to the future of other groups in society.

And vice versa, for the health of Christianity, we need to be part of inter-disciplinary conversations, talking to other groups in society, learning together.

Posted by steve at 01:31 PM

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